It is most horrifying to learn that a 37 year-old young and promising lawyer Darvesh Yadav who had just recently on June 9, 2019 been elected as the first woman chairperson of Bar Council of UP was on June 12 just three days later shot dead right inside the Agra District Court by another lawyer Manish Sharma thus cutting short her life in the most gruesome manner which can never be justified under any circumstances! Why can’t advocates as well as others be barred from carrying weapons inside court premises? UP Bar Council is the biggest Bar Council in the world with maximum members numbering more than one lakh and what a spectacle has been created that none other than the Chairperson of UP Bar Council has been shot dead right inside court premises!
Needless to say, the lawyers of not just West UP but of entire UP observed strike the next day following her murder and everyone roundly condemned the dastardly manner of her killing right inside court premises! Manish Sharma fired at least three rounds at Darvesh Yadav inside the chambers of another lawyer – Arvind Kumar Mishra and then later shot himself on the head. Alas, a promising young woman’s career who became UP Bar Council head at such a young age of 37 and her life was brought to an abrupt end! It must be ensured that henceforth no person whether he/she is advocate or anyone else is allowed to carry weapons right inside court premises!
In an emergent meeting convened by the Oudh Bar Association in the wake of the shocking murder, it condemned the incident and resolved to abstain from work to protest the attack. The Association also resolved to call for special enquiry by the State Government into the crime. Last March, a lawyer was shot dead in a court campus in Basti district.
It must be revealed here that Agra City’s Assistant Superintendent of Police Prashant Verma said that she was shot by lawyer Manish Sharma who had been her long time acquaintance. He said that the pistol used by the lawyer is a licensed weapon and the police have taken possession of it. Manish Sharma who also shot himself is currently undergoing treatment at a hospital and is in a critical condition.”
To be sure, Prashant Verma disclosed that an FIR has been lodged against Manish Sharma on charges of murder at the New Agra police station. According to Verma, lawyers on morning of june 12 took out a victory procession to celebrate Darvesh Yadav’s victory, which ended at around 2.30 pm. Darvesh Yadav then went to the chamber of a local lawyer Arvind Mishra. Verma also revealed that, “While Darvesh was talking to lawyers, Manish Babu arrived there. A few minutes later, a heated argument took place between Darvesh Singh and Manish Babu over some issue. Suddenly, Manish took out his licensed pistol and shot her thrice.”
Furthermore, Verma also revealed that, “Before lawyers present there could understand, Manish Babu shot himself in the head with the same pistol. An autopsy report is still awaited.” Verma also said that police were yet to determine the motive. He said that, “Manish Babu was a long-time acquaintance of Darvesh Singh. So far, no lawyers had come forward to tell if there was a dispute between Darvesh Singh and Manish Babu. The investigation is on.”
Both Darvesh and Manish had started practicing in Agra district court in 2004 and had been sharing the same office also. Lawyers at Agra court reveal that Manish Sharma was the biggest supporter of Darvesh and had even campaigned for her in the UP Bar Council elections and are too shocked to explain the reason for this extreme act. In photo also he can be seen waving victory sign along with Darvesh Yadav after she won!
To say the least, Agra Bar Association’s General Secretary DP Ojha said that, “Manish Babu was once a junior of Darvesh Singh, who was unmarried. We have no idea of the dispute between them.” Darvesh Yadav was staying at the Khandari area of Agra. He said that, “On Wednesday morning the Agra Bar Association had organised a welcome programme for Darvesh Singh. After she returned to advocate Arvind Mishra’s chamber after the programme ended, the incident occurred. Darvesh Singh was shot thrice in the head and chest.” It must be revealed here that Arvind Kumar Mishra who is former legal advisor to ex UP Governor BL Joshi did not speak to media about it and refrained from saying anything.
Going forward, Durgvijay Singh Bhaiya who is the former General Secretary of Agra Greater Bar Association said that, “We are shocked. Darvesh and Manish had cordial relation for several years. Can’t understand how could Manish shoot his colleague.” This gruesome incident has certainly shocked not just the entire legal fraternity but also others who have no association with courts in any manner! Ajay Kaushal who is station house officer of New Agra told media that, “Darvesh’s body has been sent for autopsy, while Manish who shot himself in head has been referred to Medanta hospital in Gurgaon.”
According to eye-witnesses, Manish Sharma, who shared office with Darvesh Yadav in Agra district court and had close ties with her for over a decade, pumped three bullets from his licensed pistol into Darevsh head, chest and stomach while standing at the entrance door of advocate Arvind Kumar Mishra’s chamber inside court premises. Later in the evening, Darvesh’s nephew Sunny Yadav lodged an FIR in which he named Manish Sharma, his wife Vandana and another advocate Vineet Gulecha. The three have been booked for murder, criminal conspiracy and criminal intimidation.
Be it noted, the FIR says that, “My aunt Dravesh Singh Yadav was sitting at advocate Arvind Kumar Mishra’s chamber when accused Manish Sharma came with his pistol and fired shot at her and another relative Manoj Kumar. While Kumar escaped the bullet, Darvesh suffered three hits. Later, Manish shot himself with the same weapon.” Meanwhile, the CM Yogi Adityananth while taking immediate cognizance of it had directed the Agra DM and SSP to investigate the reason for the incident. The investigation is still on.
It would be pertinent to mention here that advocate Abhishek Yadav whose office is opposite the chamber where the crime took place said that, “A heated argument had broken out inside Mishra’s chamber between Darvesh and Manish. Seconds later, he came out of Mishra’s chamber and took out his weapon to load bullets. He went back and stood at entrance of chamber and fired three shots at Darvesh.”
It would be worth mentioning here that the Bar Council of India has condemned the murder and demanded security for its members. It sought a minimum compensation of Rs 50 lakh to the family of the victim. Very rightly so! Former UP Bar Council Chairperson and present member – Akhilesh Awasdthi said that Darvesh Singh was elected chairperson on June 9. He said that, “She was earlier Vice President of the Bar Council. We demand compensation of Rs 50 lakh for her family. We also request the state government to provide security to all UP Bar Council member and lawyers.”
More importantly, a law should be made whereby no advocate or anyone else is allowed to carry weapons or bullets inside court premises under any circumstances. Also, even advocates must be checked to ensure that no one carries weapon with him/her inside court premises under any circumstances! Only then can security of advocates and those working in courts be ensured which is indispensable four judicial system to function normally and fearlessly under all circumstances!
It must be mentioned here that National Commission for Women Chairperson Rekha Sharma who visited the court premises expressed her strong displeasure over the armed weapon been brought inside the court premises. She rightly said that, “Why should lawyers or anyone be allowed to bring weapon inside court premises. We will write to Bar Council of India and UP Bar Council to ensure that no weapon is allowed in court premises. It’s extremely disappointing that an advocate was shot inside court by her own colleagues. I’ll submit my finding report to Union Home Minister.”
Taking a stern view of the Uttar Pradesh Bar Council Chairperson Darvesh Yadav’s murder in Agra court premises, the Allahabad High Court directed the state government to ensure foolproof security in all court premises in the state. The Registrar General of the Allahabad High Court, through a press note has informed that as the Chief Justice has taken serious view of the matter, has directed the state government to take appropriate steps immediately regarding ‘zero error security’ in the High Court, Allahabad and Lucknow and district courts of the state. The press note of the Registrar General mentions that, “I am directed to assure all the advocate fraternity that the court is taking all necessary steps to beef up the security of the court’s campus and the persons related to dispensation of justice on the subordinate courts.”
It is welcome to note that following this dastardly incident of murder of UP Bar Council Chairperson, the lawyers of District Court of Allahabad held a condolence meeting and thereafter observed a day’s strike condemning the incident. Manoj Kumar Singh alias Lokesh who is Secretary of District Bar Association of Allahabad has minced no words in saying unequivocally that, “We have demanded that all the necessary steps should be taken to revamp the security of all the courts of the state and no one, be it lawyers and common public, should not be allowed with arms including those possessing licensed weapon.” Absolutely right!
Ban advocates and also all others absolutely from carrying any kind of weapons or bullets inside the court premises under any circumstances! Only then can it be ensured that in future no young and promising advocate like Darvesh Singh Yadav’s life is cut short so abruptly and suddenly for no fault of hers! There can be no denying or disputing it!
Sanjeev Sirohi, Advocate,
s/o Col BPS Sirohi,
A 82, Defence Enclave,
Sardhana Road, Kankerkhera,
Meerut – 250001, Uttar Pradesh.